Medical personnel in personal protective equipment drive a patient infected with COVID-19 to a community hospital in Kaohsiung’s Cianjin District yesterday.
LONG-TERM TREND ANALYSIS: Blood donated from January to this month would be studied to inform the nation’s pandemic policy updates, the CECC said
By Yang Yuan-ting and Wu Liang-yi / Staff reporters, with CNA
A new antibody survey is to bolster Taiwan’s COVID-19 surveillance by determining whether there are unknown community transmission chains, the Central Epidemic Command Center （CECC） said yesterday.
The “SARS-CoV-2 seroepidemiologic survey and long-term trend analysis,” which would be carried out by the Centers for Disease Control （CDC） and the Taiwan Blood Services Foundation, would test 36,000 serum samples from the nation’s blood donation center archives, the CECC said in a statement.
The study is seeking to better understand SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity changes by analyzing serum samples with regard to the donor’s age and location, the center said.
Blood donation centers across the nation would carry out stratified sampling on serum donated from January to this month, it said.
The results would serve as a reference for changes to Taiwan’s COVID-19 policies, it said.
The foundation would provide anonymous data and serum samples to the CDC for follow-up testing and statistical analysis, the CECC said.
Files containing further information would be destroyed after the analysis to ensure that neither of the institutions involved can identify the donors, it said.
Donors can object to the use of their serum by calling the CDC’s toll-free 1922 hotline before June 30, leaving their name, ID number and date of birth, or by writing to the CECC at No. 6, Linsen S Road, Zhongzheng District （中正）, Taipei, it said
Their rights and interests would not be affected, it added.
The project has been reviewed and approved by the CDC’s Human Research Ethics Review Committees, the CECC said.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo （羅一鈞）, deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, said that a similar survey was conducted in October last year.
Taiwan yesterday reported 63,170 new local COVID-19 cases and 168 deaths from the disease.
The deceased, aged from 10 to 100, included 159 people with chronic illnesses or other severe diseases, and 113 who had not received a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, the CECC said.
Taichung reported the most cases, with 9,523, followed by Kaohsiung with 9,316 and New Taipei City with 7,440.
Tainan reported 6,163 cases, Changhua County 5,185, Taoyuan 5,066, Taipei 4,025, Pingtung County 3,032, Yunlin County 1,606, Miaoli County 1,605, Hsinchu County 1,462, Nantou County 1,458 and Chiayi County 1,323.
Hsinchu City recorded 1,245 cases, Yilan County 1,187, Hualien County 888, Keelung 787, Chiayi City 769, Taitung County 673, Penghu County 262, Kinmen County 141 and Lienchiang County 14.
Lo said that northern Taiwan’s COVID-19-specific hospital wards had significantly fewer patients, while those in central Taiwan have seen a slowdown in hospitalizations.
Hospitalizations in Kaohsiung and Pingtung are plateauing, and it might take one or two weeks until a downward trend becomes visible, he said.
Taiwan on Wednesday began its new “3+4” policy for incoming travelers, requiring them to quarantine for three days and observing four days of self-disease prevention. The number of weekly arrivals is capped at 25,000.
Lo said that airlines had asked the CECC to allow more arrivals.
Relaxing the measure would depend on the burden on the nation’s healthcare system and the general COVID-19 situation, he said.
If the government decides to allow more travelers, Taiwanese would be prioritized, he said.